Metalanguage Instruction within an Adult Literacy Program: Lexicogrammar as Source for Socially Meaningful Choices

By Marianna Kondyli and Christina Lykou.

Published by The International Journal of Literacies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 27, 2014 $US5.00

Lexicogrammar as a system for socially situated meaning-making (Systemic Functional Linguistics) and literacy pedagogy were the framework for metalanguage instruction, in close relation with the organization and the social objectives of different everyday texts, within the adult literacy program “Learning for Action” (Adult Education Centers, IDEKE). Our proposal consisted of literacy activities, within which socially situated texts and their social objective - realized through their lexicogrammar as well as through complementary semiotic systems - allow for critical language awareness and the consequent students’ (linguistic) action. More particularly, we provide examples from our material, where lexicogrammatical realizations of field and tenor parameters (according to SFL) are used to “unlock the text” (metalanguage instruction), in order the students to comprehend how different lexicogrammatical choices are related to the purpose, the topic, the participants as well as the way in which language resources meet social objectives and therefore are ideologically loaded. In this paper, our main claim is that the approach about language and literacy proposed in this particular program contributes to the development of the “design of meanings” as examples of metalanguage instruction in our data illustrate.

Keywords: Adult Literacy, Designs of Meaning, Metalanguage Instruction, Systemic Functional Linguistics, Lexicogrammar

The International Journal of Literacies, Volume 20, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.11-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 27, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 494.393KB)).

Associate professor Marianna Kondyli

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education, Division of Social Theory and Analysis, University of Patras, Patras, Greece

Marianna Kondyli is an Associate professor in Sociolinguistics and L1 Teaching and Learning at the Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education (University of Patras, Greece). She was collaborator of the Institute for Continuing Adult Education as a member of the literacy group in the research project “Adult Education Centres.” Her research interests include mainly systemic functional analysis of school texts and of early childhood literacy practices. Some of her publications are: The nominalization in secondary school students’ writings: Grammatical metaphor and semantic variation (with E. Paisi, 2011) [in Greek]; Children’s utilization of written language in meaningful situations: literacy events in role play contexts (with N. Stellakis, 2010); Defining and classifying in classroom discourse: Some evidence from Greek pre-school education (with C. Lykou, 2008); Contexts for learning to be literate: Some evidence from Greek pre-primary education setting (with N. Stellakis, 2005).

Christina Lykou

PhD Candidate, Department of Linguistics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Christina Lykou is a PhD candidate in Linguistics (University of Athens) in the area of systemic functional linguistics and holds an M.A. in Language Studies (University of Lancaster). Her areas of interest also include critical discourse analysis, literacy and language education. She is currently working as a researcher in the Research Centre in English Language of the University of Athens. She was also collaborator of the Institute for Continuing Adult Education as a member of the literacy group in the research project “Adult Education Centres.” She was editorial secretary of Glossikos Ipologistis, a journal of the Centre for the Greek Language about language and language education and collaborator of the Pedagogical Institute in the research project “European Languages Centres.” Some of her publications are: Defining and classifying in classroom discourse: Some evidence from Greek pre-school education (with M. Kondyli, 2008), Semiotic practices and the European Union as (sub)text (2004), The systemic functional grammar of M.A.K. Halliday (2000), Representations of the European Union in the Greek press (2001).